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Carnegie Libraries of Missouri

Excepting St. Joseph and St. Louis, which have their own pages.

Missouri seems to be the hardest state so far for me to find references on Carnegie libraries. Information is either absent (Maryville) or contradictory (St. Louis branch libraries). According to the Shelbina Carnegie Public Library's well-written history, apparently offline, Missouri received funds for 33 public libraries. It also notes that Hannibal, Kirksville, and Macon declined--or failed in the details involved in--Carnegie grants.


1904 grant, and proudly serving its designated purpose. Unaltered, it's on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Post Office Newstand postcard shows a red brick building of unusual design, by the architects Eckel and Mann.


Albany, MO Carnegie library
Aurora, MO Carnegie library

Currently known as the Aurora Branch of the Barry-Lawrence Library.

Carnegie grant dates from 1909. According to the information about Aurora from the LASR Net page, it was built in 1917-18 and has been remodeled since.
Both sites show the current configuration, but only the latter has a very strange picture that looks as if a large, baby-blue van is flying through the air, aiming at the entrance.

Aurora has the distinction as the only small city I am aware of, that published road maps (Mid-West Map Company) and postcards (MWM Dexter, its successor).

Chicago, of course, had Rand McNally and Curt Teich, but it's not really a fair comparision, is it?

Yes, the caption really does say 'Bolivar Pubic Library, Bolivar, Mo.'

(L) No comment about the card caption.
(R) Out of register 'blue sky' style card.

Bolivar, MO Carnegie library

1913 grant: built in 1914.
Now the Polk County Genealogy Society Library. Also a historic site, the first in the county, per Waymarking.

Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau, MO Carnegie library

1916 grant, but Rush Limbaugh's hometown library didn't open until 1922.
Replaced, 1980. Per Wikipedia, the old building serves as Cape Girardeau County offices.


Albertype card, mailed in 1927.


Built in 1905, this is known as one of three Carnegie buildings in Jasper County, MO. Still in use, with the aid of Sam Butcher, the Precious Moments figurine guru, who donated the funds for an annex.

Carthage, MO Carnegie library

(L) C.E. Wheelock Card.

(R) E.C. Kropp post card with annotation:

This is much prettier one the inside than the outside. I like to have access to a nice library - don't you. Our new books for the school library have come.


Jefferson City, MO Carnegie library with added auto

1911 grant. This Classical Revival Type A building is still in use.


The homely postcard was published by Wood Black.

Fulton, MO Carnegie library
Jefferson City
Jefferson City, MO Carnegie library

(L) Litho-Chrome brand card, published locally by Samuel H. Smith & Co. and printed in Germany.
(R) Curt Teich card dates from the early 1920s.


1900 Carnegie grant. Replaced in 1975. Still in use, as the Cole County Assessor's Office and the Public Defender's Office.



Jefferson City, MO Carnegie library
Joplin, MO Carnegie library

(L) By the Richards Co. Two Carnegie grants, 1901 and 1915. The 1915 era addition is visible on the this postcard.


Joplin Public Library hosts a host of digitized postcards.

Per Historic, its architect was August Michaelis, whose drawing is shown therein. The library received a rare second grant in 1915, for an addition. Unfortunately, per the library's historic views collection, the zinc roof leaked and the second floor was unable to bear the weight of its books. These were some of the reasons the building was replaced in 1980. However, this supposedly unstable building survived two (1971 and 2011) tornadoes. It served as a private residence until at least 2003, and in 2010 was set to undergo renovation.


According to various contemporaneous sources, after the tornado, six of Joplin Public Library's staff members reported for work the very next day, one sporting a broken arm.



The Carnegie grant came in 1902. The library was built in 1905, and according to the Waymarking website, is still in use.

Louisiana, MO Carnegie library on RPPC

Every picture tells a story.
(And this one is interesting.)

The card on the left was in a category of miscellaneous RPPC at a show. Looking at it, I felt certain it was of a library, but I didn't think it was of a Carnegie building. Months later, I picked up the card below, L, along with several other library cards. As I was scanning and sorting the purchases, I thought the C.T. American Art postcard looked familiar. Then the lightbulb came on.

Louisiana, MO Carnegie library
Louisiana, MO Carnegie library

It was the same library I'd seen months earlier.


Marceline, MO Carnegie library on RPPC

(L) This unattributed photo postcard doesn't do the library justice. However, the street is brick, unlike so many one sees in front of early Carnegie buildings.

(R) In 1931, Curt Teich hit one out of the ballpark with this C.T. American Art Blue-Sky postcard.

Marceline, MO Carnegie library

Marceline is best known as one of Walt Disney's many home towns. He predated this snazzy little Carnegie building by ten years, however.
Like others among the last Carnegie buildings, the Great War interfered in the construction process. The Library was founded in 1914, and the request was sent in 1917. Two months later, per the Library's history page, the grant was made.
It wasn't until 1919 that the architect, Edgar P. Madorie, was selected, and in late 1920, the library building was complete.

Marshfield, MO Carnegie library

The smallest town west of the Mississippi to receive a (1910) Carnegie grant. I'm not quite certain this is correct, as its 1910 population was 4,869.


The building now serves as the Webster County History Museum. The Library itself is part of the Webster County Library.

The initials DOPS occur in the postage box of this attractive photo card.


1903 Carnegie grant. Demolished some time after 1962. I suspect that the replacement building was once a post office.


The question "How are you and Dewey?" has a new scope of meaning on a library postcard. This one was sent in 1912, but appears to date from several years earlier.


Maryville, MO Carnegie library building, since demolished.

1902 Carnegie grant. Now a branch of the Little Dixie Regional Library System.

Moberly, MO with Carnegie library

(L) Mailed in 1905.

(R) Mailed in 1907.

An especially fine touch is the stained glass window over the entry. On the center card there seems to be a second leaded window in a fishscale or diamond pattern. Nice to know this building is still in use and looking quite dapper.

Moberly, MO Carnegie library

According to a 1992 DNR document, this building was funded from a 1915 Carnegie grant. Today it houses the Nevada Missouri Tourism Center.


Curt Teich 'American Art' postcard. I also have a monochrome version of this card.

Nevada, MO Carnegie library
Outstretched Sedalia souvenir packet
Cover of Sedalia's souvenir packet, featuring their Carnegie library
Addressed souvenir packet. mailed 1906

You don't see many souvenir packets whose main feature is a Carnegie library building. Plus, not many are dated. This was patented December 5, 1905, and mailed in late 1906 as a Christmas card.


Sedalia received a 1899 Carnegie grant, the first awarded in Missouri. $50,000 could buy a lot of library, and this building was dedicated over 110 years ago. It's still in use, and never required renovation.
Can we say 'foresight?

Sedalia, MO Carnegie library with lurid background

(L) Sedalia's card comes from that peculiar wackyland of the Elite Postcard Co. of Kansas City, where all libraries face east to display a lurid sunset behind.
It is postmarked 1912. With a divided back, it could have been published as much as five years earlier.

(R) Card from the 1980s.

Shelbina, MO Carnegie library

Shelbina Public Library gave us some of the best details in its Carnegie history. After a late 1916 grant, construction began the next year, despite the war, and the new building opened in 1918. I was amused to learn that W.O.L. Jewett donated '135 scintillating volumes of mining history.'
The Library's addition came in 1988, and its lower level finished in 1992.
Civic pride isn't what it used to be, I fear.


The monochrome E.C. Kropp card has a 1921 inscription.

Springfield, MO Carnegie library
Springfield, MO Carnegie library
Springfield, MO public library

Simplicity postcard, printed in Chicago.

E.C. Kropp postcard.

Curt Teich postcard (reprint).

The construction is similar to Sedalia's Carnegie building, especially apparent in the left hand card.
Adding to the potential confusion is that fact that Springfield, Missouri does not appear in Bobinski's 1969 list of Carnegie grants. However, one of the Library's web pages confirms that construction on the Carnegie building began in late 1903.

Webb City
Webb City, MO Carnegie library

1910 grant, built in 1915, and still in use. The Library's old web page described the building material as limestone boulders trimmed with Carthage stone. It was designed by Grant Miller of Miller Fullenwider, and Dowling.
Also described on the site as Richardsonian Romanesque style.


I wish the S.H. Kress card, probably printed by E.C. Kropp, was in as good shape as the Library appears to be. It was mailed in 1917.

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